Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Blessed Life

March 28, 2015

On March 6, 2015, my family and I went from complete exhilaration to panic. Many family and friends were attending the MN State High School Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN to watch our son play with his high school team Duluth East. The team had just beat one of their rivals in a very tough game in front of 21,000 screaming fans. Duluth East was not expected to win. The win against Edina catapulted the team into the championship game on Saturday night.

During the game I felt a little pressure in my chest, but thought it was just the excitement. Once the game was over a lot of parents went to see the boys when they came out of the locker room to congratulate them on a big win. As I was walking to see my son I felt additional chest pressure. After taking pictures with the team we decided to go back to our seats and watch the next game. As I was walking back to the suite where we were sitting, suddenly I felt as though an elephant was sitting on my chest and things seemed a little fuzzy. I thought it might be just anxiety from the game and just needed to sit and relax. I was not short of breath or in any pain. After ten minutes of sitting down I felt a tingling down my left arm and immediately knew something was wrong. This was not normal for me.

The EMT’s were called and they gave me an aspirin and sent me to the ER at United in St. Paul. ER gave me a nitrate and ran some blood tests which all showed up negative for a cardiac event. Here I was a healthy 51year old woman with no risk factors, eating right and exercising every day. The ER doctor insisted that I stay and repeat the blood test to check troponin levels again. Thank goodness she did because the second test showed that I had a heart attack. Of course, I was shocked and scared, but it gave me some comfort to know my body and that something had happened. Because I was healthy, my cardiologist was determined to find out why and so I had an aniogram which showed SCAD. They recommended letting it heal on its own rather than having a stent. Since then my echo and ultrasound have shown no heart damage or additional blocked arteries. I feel very blessed for this!

Over the past couple of weeks it has been a roller coaster ride. To have a condition where the cause is virtually unknown or if it will happen again is very unnerving. I have started walking again to regain my strength and combat the fatigue from the medications, which are completely new for me. I plan to do what I can to help support research of this disease and find my new normal. Knowledge is power and please people listen to your body. I did and it saved my life!